Announcing our 2021 Young Writers’ Contest Winners!

Spencertown Academy has proudly offered this competition since 2015. Our goal is to encourage creative writing among students in grades 9-12 (including homeschool) in Columbia County, NY and Berkshire County, MA. This year’s contest attracted 38 creative individuals, writing in either Fiction or Non-Fiction (personal essay) categories. 

Works were judged in an anonymous process by published authors and publishing professionals, who volunteered their services for this contest. This year’s judges include David Cudaback, Liz Diggs, Carol Essert, Alan Gelb, Doris Iarovici, and Elaine Khosrova. We really cannot thank them enough for the time and thought they put into their co-operative decisions. 

As one judge commented, “…it was not an easy process of elimination. Many of the stories that did not make the final cut had, nonetheless, real merit—especially in their attempt at creativity and originality.” Kudos to all the participants! 

Each category has three prizes – $250, $150 and $100. And the winners are invited to read their work on a Zoom gathering for friends and family. 

This Year’s Winners

Fiction/Short Story

Final works in the Fiction category were selected by Doris Iarovici. Her recent book, Minus One, is a collection of short stories. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian, among others. Doris is a psychiatrist at Harvard University Health Services. 

Sasha Truax, winner of the Fiction/Short Story category of Spencertown Academy's 2021 Young Writers' Contest

First Place
Sasha Truax

12th Grade
New Lebanon High School
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Second Place: Samantha Saavedra, 10th Grade, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Liam Henderson
Third Place: Mattie Vandiver, 12th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf High School, The Science of Friendship
Honorable Mention: Jin Fernbacher, 10th Grade, Berkshire Waldorf High School, A Single Orange

Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir

Winners in this section were chosen by Alan Gelb. Alan’s work in marketing communications in higher education led to his book, Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps. His latest work is Having the Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story.

Dezjuan K. Smith, winner of the Nonfiction/Essay or Memoir category of Spencertown Academy's 2021 Young Writers' Contest

First Place
Dezjuan K. Smith

11th Grade
Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School
Everything Under the Sun, Maybe

First Place: Dezjuan K. Smith, 11th Grade, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Everything Under the Sun, Maybe
Second Place: Amanda Roberts, 11th Grade, Chatham HS, Below the Surface 
Third Place: Phoebe Hebert, 12th Grade, Chatham HS, The City

Click on the titles to read these wonderful student works.

Sponsored by the Spencertown Academy Art Center and Hawthorne Valley

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